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Nov 05, 2015, 10:15 AM
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Useful Nova / CX20 Info

After buying and waiting for the Nova to arrive (and since) I have been researching lots of info on the Nova/CX20 in order to ensure I get it right first time and help with some mods.

I have collated all this information for my own use but wanting to give something back to the RCGroups Nova / CX20 community, I have transposed it here for people to share.

THANKS to the many people here on RCGroups (Mr Jagger, Fatquad, Bob AZ, Charleysayz, dkemxr, Tesla, CoolRC, Quad808, sureshot_, ScottFly and many, many more) for helping me get my head around the Nova / CX20. Much of the information has been gleaned from their knowledge and indeed some of the links and images are thanks to them.


CONTENTS (in order):
Reference Material:
- Bible/Manual for Nova / CX20
- Starter Discussion
- Main Discussion

- Software
- Firmware

Getting Started:
- Arming
- Initial Calibration
- Useful Parameter Tweaks
- ESC Calibration

- Component Relocation
- Wireless Telemetry
- FPV OSD Telemetry
- Battery Data (Power Module)



Useful RCGroups thread for beginners:

The main thread for discussion and trouble shooting :

Mission Planner:
Simplified APM Log Analyser:

Never upgrade the firmware when asked to in Mission Planner. The Nova / CX20 requires custom firmware as listed below.

Before performing ANY upgrade, always backup your parameters. Useful guide here: http://quadcopter-robotics.blogspot....-cheerson.html

v3.1.5 Custom: - Preferred by many

v3.2.1 Custom: - Includes Pos Hold function. Works for some but other have experienced aggressive flying

Upgrading Firmware is done through Mission Planner (MP) and a USB cable.
- Manually select the com port and set the baud rate to 115k.
- DO NOT connect to the Nova/CX20.
- Go to Initial Setup
- Select Firmware
- MP will update a list of available firmware
- Click on link to load custom firmware
- A window pops up and you can select the .hex file you want to upload
- MP should automatically connect to the Nova / CX20



Before starting calibration of your Nova, ensure it is perfectly level. This will bear fruitful results post calibration, when you start flying it. One way to achieve this is using equally sized beer bottles on a level table, like the photo below.

You can use other things that are typically uniformly the same height eg glass tumblers. Don't use anything metallic and if possible, calibrate outside, away from as many metal objects and wireless signals as possible.

With the Nova and transmitter off connect your long (around 3m) USB cable to the USB port underneath the Nova.

The reason you do it with power off is that if you touch the 12v connection/plug you can short things out.

Tie the cable to one of the legs so that it is not under stress and does not move.
- Plug in the battery on the Nova- it will go through its startup beeping
- Plug the other end of the USB cable into your Mac or PC
- Start Mission Planner
- At the top right select the correct port
- Then select the modem speed of 115200
- Then click [Connect] top right

Once you are connected, you can follow this video for the calibration:
Quanum Nova / CX 20 MP Wizard Walkthrough (16 min 58 sec)

NOTE: After calibration check the MP compass direction with a hand held compass, then rotate 90 degrees and check it again ie North matches North, West matches West etc

Key parameters to watch for when setting up/configuring in Mission Planner:
RTL_ALT: The copter will first rise to RTL_ALT before returning home or maintain the current altitude if the current altitude is higher than RTL_ALT" Default is 1500 (15m). Change to 2000 (to avoid trees and houses?)

LAND_SPEED = 30 (default was 50)
- Slows the landing speed for RTL and Land.

ANGLE_MAX: around 3000 - 3500

THR_MID = 500 (deafault) (575 if loaded with camera and gimbal)

FAILSAFES: Loss of radio, RTL

LOG_BITMASK = 958 (Default + IMU [vibrations])

CHECK these are default
MOT_SPIN_ARMED,0 (motors off)


To improve performance and minimise future issues, the following is advised.

1. Re-mount the Flight Controller (FC) case using Kyosho Zeal so as to minimise vibrations to the FC which contains a lot of sensitive sensors. (4x 10mm squares in each corner should do the trick). Vibrations to the FC can cause all sorts of unwanted behaviour as the FC (brain) will be receiving incorrect data from its sensors.

When re-mounting the FC, ensure you get it as straight as possible. Tesla's blog here is useful reading: http://quadcopter-robotics.blogspot....component.html

2. Re-locate the GPS.
From the factory, the GPS is mounted on top the Receiver. This is not the ideal position for it. There are 2 main options for re-locating the GPS:

a) On top of the FC:

b) In the top body case, surrounded by aluminium or copper foil to minimise unwanted electrical signals from the Receiver:

NOTE: For all the following mods where wiring is involved, ALWAYS check and double check the correct connections ie V+ to V+, Grd to Grd etc as they can vary if the factory worker was new to the job or was having a bad day !
Ideally use a multimeter to check you are making the right connections. You perform mods at your own risk.


WIRELESS TELEMETRY - To view telemetry data on a PC or Android Tablet:
You will need a 3DR Telemetry kit (or clone):
- 433MHz for Europe | 915 MHz for US

The output wires from your new wireless 3DR (or clone) Telemetry unit should be:
Black = GND
Yellow = TX
Green = RX
Red = VCC

a) Installing on OLD Nova/CX20 Boards:
Adding telemetry: Quanum NOVA CX-20 (3 min 5 sec)

b) Installing on NEW boards with UART port
The new FC board makes it easier as no soldering is required as it has a UART port. The UART pins on the FC are wired incorrectly, make sure you trace the wires on your Telemetry unit and connect to the correct port on the FC. You will need to swap around some wires.
Pins on FC UART are shown here:

Wires need to be connected as so:
UART port on the Nova's FC to Wireless Telemetry Unit:
- Not required

For Android Tablets, you need Tower and 3DR services installed - here: Tower & 3DR Services

USB On The Go (OTG) cable - check your Android phone/tablet supports this - to connect the wireless telemetry unit.

To overlay telemetry data over your FPV feed, you need a Minim OSD like this one: or this one

Nice overview of the Minim OSD board circuitry and connections:
NOTE: for the Nova / CX20, the APM Telem Port is the 4 pin UART port on the FC

Minim OSD Extra Firmware:

Installing Minim OSD - useful videos:
Note: Where a Telemetry port is referenced, this is the UART port on the Nova / CX20.

Installing to APM FC (similar to the Nova FC):
APM 2.5/2.6/2.7 - Adding an OSD for FPV using MinimOSD - complete setup (17 min 45 sec)

Another Minim OSD Firmware Setup video:
How to setup and configure a MinimOSD board (16 min 5 sec)

MinimOSD Data Settings for CX20:

If you want to wire up both the Minim OSD and the wireless telemetry, here is a useful diagram and a video (note that they reference the APM FC but it is not far different from the stock Nova FC):

MinimOSD Setup, Wiring and Final Power Up Test! (22 min 31 sec)

Once you have telemetry, you will want to monitor the battery usage on your quad. By default, the Nova's FC does not report this so you will need to install an APM Power Module (PM) to get the batter data into your telemetry data stream.
One like this:

PM Setup in Mission Planner:

Looks like this:

Ardupilot setup info here:

A post on Nova specific parameter settings:

and ScottFly's post on determining the correct Current setting for your own Nova:

NOTE ON INSTALLATION: for the stock Nova FC, not all the wires/pins are needed or fit, as the FC has a 3 pin ADC port (not a 6 pin).

The PM you buy will have a white 6 pin connector with the 6 wires, wired up as shown below:

The ADC port on your Nova's FC will only be able to take a 3 pin connector, as per the picture below:

You need to convert the 6 pin connector from the PM to a 3 pin connector that can plug into the Novas ADC port.

On the Nova/FC end for the ADC port, you can do it like this i.e. remove or cut the 3 wires that are not used and then connect the wires to the wires from an already prepared 3 pin connector:

or just buy the 3 pin connector (Molex PicoBlade 1.25mm 51021) like the one below and insert the three wires you will be using:

Some further info here: http://quadcopter-robotics.blogspot....e-install.html
Last edited by Spy; Dec 04, 2015 at 08:42 AM.
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